Lou Pickney's Online Commentary
December 6, 2006
This article originally started as a story about the U.S. Post Office. But, when I was through with it... I was utterly bored. Yes, the volume of mail being sent is on the decline because of e-mail; people know that. No, most people don't know what Fidonet was, and many people under 25 never experienced Prodigy and its 30 intra-system e-mail per month limit. But, at the end of it, I felt disdain for what I had written versus being excited about it. So I scrapped the thing and started all over.
Thanks in no small part to RSS/XML and the ability to get updates via Google on when sites have updated, I've found myself reading more and more blogs. I suppose that the focus that many of them have rubbed off on me, or at leas the attempt to have more focus when I write, but the result from trying that the past two days was an article about pro wrestling (boring -- I decided to nix it and send it down to the minor leagues of my MySpace blog) and then the aforementioned USPS article that I deleted. I put that bitch on waivers for the purpose of giving it its unconditional release.
That's what happens sometimes when I try to focus on one topic and force myself to stick to it, outcome be damned. When I write on here, usually I get into a zone, and I just go with it. That's the nice thing about having your own page: you can write whatever you want, without worrying about some editor or some proof-reader or how it flows within the context of other articles. It's just me, my writing, my mind, out there, and you can take it or leave it. Ideas in the open marketplace, caveat empour.
But if I focus on a single topic, like bitching about my cell phone bill from last month never arriving because of my mailman's incompetence (he's put letters to neighbors of mine in my mailbox no less than a dozen times since I moved here), it prevents me from branching off the way I want. Some people can pick a topic and cover it, no problem. I can do that, but only if it's something that really holds my interest, like the NFL Draft or the radio business. And for that I've established separate websites so as to not bore people who come here for general reading with constant talk about who will get the #1 pick in next year's draft.
The styles of writing on blogs vary, but typically they fall within a few groups:
1. Inane rambling. Okay, I might be guilty of rambling sometimes, but I'd like to think it's usually at least somewhat compelling. Young teenagers who are (apparently) doing their first blog particularly fall into this category. I run across all kinds of blogs via the Blog$hares game, and more fall into this category than you might realize. Though, mercifully, those blogs usually wither quickly.
2. Intelligent but unfocused. That's what this site falls into, at least that's the idea. I've tried to make this focused, but it doesn't work. I can't write one music column a week; well, I could, but the drudgery of knowing "gotta crank out another music column" would ultimately lead me to find all kinds of excuses not to write. But, with here, I have a total free forum, and I can decide right now to tell you that "When Your Heart Stops Beating" by +44 is a great song that is being overlooked by commercial radio. See, I didn't need to write an entire article explaining who +44 is or where the band came from. If you want that, there's Wikipedia and Google and whatever else is out there for finding out details. "Tell me more!" a la Martin Prince in the video game playing My Dinner With Andre on The Simpsons (which I've referenced before on here.)
3. Intelligent but focused. Usually a blog about one topic, with nice grammar and careful writing. I'm certainly not knocking that, but it's just not the style that I've had on here, no matter how much I try.
That's waaaaay oversimplifying it, I know, but that's usually how it goes. My bloglist is a nice mix of 2 and 3, with topics that interest me and writers who can hold my interest. Sometimes writers will go into a slump, or they'll manage to turn me off, and then poof, I'll drop them from my bloglist. I'm more fickle than I think I like to admit to myself.
This may read like an ADD thought process, but that's what happens when I just type and don't refine. I've tried going through and editing and correcting, and I'll do that for misspellings (though Mozilla's real-time spell checker helps me with that considerably), but usually what I write is what I put out. When I don't write that way, what comes out might be more polished, but it lacks the flair and honesty that arrives when I just sit and type and let whatever pops up pop up.
And, with that, I'll off to Ca$hville. I hope to write from up there, but computer access isn't the easiest thing to come by when you don't have your own machine. And until I'm forced to get a laptop, I'm gonna hold out for the joy of a real keyboard, not some compressed keyboard on a laptop, or even worse one of those Blackberry mini-keyboards. Then again, I hate typing text messages, whereas Matt or Dustin can spit them out on the fly. But that's another story for another time...